Made-in-Vietnam robots on front lines of Covid-19 battle05/05/2020Robots can replace humans in high-risk environments in carrying out certain tasks, such as delivering medicines and food, collecting garbage, and spraying disinfectants. That was the guiding principle adopted by Vietnamese scientists mobilized for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has assigned the Military Technical Academy under the Ministry of Defense to research and build a medical support robot system modeled after Aethon’s TUG robots plying the corridors of American hospitals in recent years. The robots can work in groups in isolated areas to replace or support health workers caring for patients and suspected disease carriers.
The Vibot 1a robot
Within just two weeks, the young researchers built a robot called Vibot version 1a, which can transport food, medicine and necessities to patients’ beds; carry domestic waste, medical waste, and laundry from the wards to a gathering area and support remote communications between medical staff and patients.
Vibot robots are designed to be versatile and flexible to meet the specific needs of each isolated area. They can transport loads of up to 100kg and its activities are supervised and controlled by an operations center, facilitating the expansion of the robot’s operating range or adding more robots to the system when necessary.
Vibot-1a is equipped with sensors fitted on its front and rear to avoid collisions with people and equipment. With a large capacity battery pack and automatic charging station, Vibot-1a can work continuously for 12 hours and automatically return to the station to recharge. Each robot can replace 3-5 medical staff. As they go about their deliveries, the robots can play music and entertainment news, and even say “Please make way”, “Thank you”, and “Good bye”.
Meanwhile, a robotics research group at Ton Duc Thang University has launched two robot models which specialize in sterilization for Covid-19 prevention - CD 1.0 (Covid Defender 1.0) and DR 1.0 (Disinfection Robot 1.0). CD 1.0 can be controlled remotely from as far away as 2km. It has an arm designed like an ejector, which is used to spray disinfectants in isolation areas and treatment rooms. Covid Defender 1.0 can carry a maximum load of 170kg.
Disinfection Robot 1.0 is a self-propelled robot which can memorize workspaces and disinfect them by using ultraviolet rays to destroy the DNA structure of the virus. The product’s advantage is not using chemicals and thus being environmentally friendly.
An “innovative incubator” team from the Eastern People Military Hospital in HCM City has launched another sterilization robot model ordered by the municipal Department of Health. It has two main functions: spraying disinfectant for sterilization and cleaning the floor after spraying. This robot also disinfects itself before leaving the isolation rooms. The equipment can be operated remotely through the 4G network or the internet.
The research and manufacture of Made-in-Vietnam robots prove the qualifications of Vietnamese scientists as they face the complex development of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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